Day 17 – Happiness

Alex

I’ve written about my life, my family, my pets, and my collections in this blog, and they all make me very happy.  So I wanted to choose something different to represent ‘happiness’ on day 17 of the challenge.  The truth is simple… I love taking photographs.  I enjoy the creative process, the pleasure it gives to both myself and to others, and the thought that I’ve captured moments in time which can be cherished forever.  There is obviously an artistic element to taking a great photograph, but the equipment we have available makes life a lot easier, not to mention just plain fun.  What you see in the image above is my favorite equipment, in addition to the Canon 7D camera and 50mm 1.4 lens that I’m using throughout this challenge.  I’m often asked what exactly I shoot with, and so here it all is laid out before you!  (Of course there are many items on my infinite wish list, but this is what I have right now).  In the background is my Ketti camera handbag, then I have my 70-200mm f/4L lens which I often combine with my 1.4 EX II extender for sports pictures.  There is also my ‘walkabout’ lens, a 17-55mm 2.8 piece of almost perfection, my Sigma 10mm f/2.8 fisheye, and my 85mm 1.8, which is great for both portraits, and for when it’s dark inside and I want to take an image with a faster shutter speed.  Finally, there is my speedlite, and for a person who is usually so reluctant to use a flash, there is my Gary Fong diffuser, which when attached to the speedlite helps to create a much softer image.  The bowl you see in the forefront is the dome that can be used with the diffuser, but I also love to utilize it to help with custom white balance settings.  For me, all these items add up to much ‘HAPPINESS’!!!!

I’ve just noticed that nowhere in this blog have I stated what is probably obvious, I only shoot in fully manual (M) mode with my camera.  I took this image at 4’oclock this afternoon in our dark dining room, with an ISO of 2000, a shutter speed of 1/40, and the aperture at f/3.2.  These combined let in maximum light but allowed most of the items to be in focus. The main light in the room was on above the items.

In Lightroom I wanted to create a kind of black and white sepia look.  So I initially cropped the image and then converted it to black and white. I increased the exposure, clarity, and contrast, and decreased the highlights.  I then used a preset brushstroke from Pretty Presets for Lightroom which gave a gradual warm haze to the photo.

Bonnie

Happiness….  Oh my, that incorporates A LOT, doesn’t it?  I had hoped to complete this photo and blog yesterday, but I am quickly finding myself falling a bit behind, after the arrival our French Exchange student this week.  Having just finished cleaning the breakfast dishes and whisking Libby and Chloe-Alizee off to this morning’s Bat Mitzvah, I finally had a minute to sit in my ‘Happy’ Place.  I think I had been on the couch for no more than 10 seconds, when my sweet shih-tzu quickly snuggled in on my lap.  With a latte in one hand and my phone in the other, I snapped this picture of ‘happiness’.  I am always happy for a few minutes of down time and I always find this room the perfect place to reflect on the days happenings.  Filled with memories and some of my favorite sentimental items, I can always find the the inspiration to continue my day.  The portrait of my daughter was taken by me several years ago in Kennebunkport, Maine.  My son always says she looks like a beautiful American Girl doll in the photo, and that always brings a smile to my face.

The photo was taken at about 10:00 am and there was lots of natural light flowing through the windows.  I shot the photo in Pro HDR.  I then brightened a tad in Snapseed and changed to a neutral black and white in the same app.

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”  ~ Marc Riboud

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